You probably already know that in writing and narrating there are different points of view. You might have even studied the differences between first, second and third-person point of view. But I found it interesting when I came across a magazine article stating that these points of view apply to our religious or spiritual natures as well. I wanted to share this information in a condensed, easy-to-read format for others, so following is a brief explanation of each “spiritual style”. Hopefully you will have fun reading through and deciding how you personally view things. Most of us probably lean towards one point of view, but carry aspects of the others as well. Although I myself am Christian, I tried to present the information in a way that anyone could relate to, regardless of religious beliefs. If you wish to share your own viewpoint or opinion on the matter, feel free to leave a comment!
First-person POV: Just as in writing, first-person is by far the most personal point of view. As the name implies, with the first-person spiritual POV, you tend to see God or Spirit within yourself. Eastern religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism are big on the first-person POV of God, as are many followers of Christianity, Islam and Judaism, especially the more mystical folks. People who favor the first-person POV see God living within them, whether they believe that the Spirit of God is naturally inherent in all living beings or believe that the Holy Spirit physically resides inside believers after conversion. There is often a belief in an “inner Christ”, “inner Buddha” or other spiritual presence within. Some people are really wary of the first person spiritual POV because they fear it could be seen as a type of self-worship.
Second-person POV: This POV often uses the pronoun “you” in writing. Typically in this POV you are addressing someone else. So when you think about the second-person POV in regards to spirituality, this would be the common practice of talking to God as a separate entity who is entirely outside of yourself. People who favor this POV often refer to God as “Father”, “Thee”, “Thou”, “Lord”, etc. The basis of this POV is really all about personal relationships and the need to feel connected to someone or something greater than ourselves. This is definitely the POV most used in times of emergency or hardship, when people instinctively call out for help.
Third-person POV: As in writing, the third-person POV is referring to someone or something entirely outside of yourself and normally not very intimate either. It is looking at something from a distance and being able to analyze or logically study things. Some may think that people who favor this POV aren’t spiritual at all, because they don’t necessarily “sound” spiritual or religious, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t believe in anything. These are the people who look at nature and see God or spirituality present there. They also may look at science or the arts and marvel at the wonders of design and creativity present there. Many people who crave spiritual connection but have been turned off by traditional religions tend to favor the third-person POV. Of course, even those who follow a strict religious form may still see God reflected in creation or other amazing parts of life.
So…which type do you think you favor? Personally, I think I favor the second-person POV because I crave that personal relationship with someone greater than myself. I like having someone fair, loving and all-knowing to talk to at all times. However, I do think that at least a bit of God must exist within all living beings, otherwise, they couldn’t live. I truly do believe the “breath of God” is within all that lives and that the loving Spirit of God can reside within us if we allow it. I also do see the Spirit of God reflected in creation, science and art and marvel at the creativity that exists within the creator and the creation. So as you can see, many of us are a combination of all three styles, but I still find it interesting to think about. I hope you do too.
Maybe I have read too many near-death experiences or just have too much time on my hands, but I often think about the end of my life and how I will feel if I undergo a life review. While pondering, I start to wonder if the life review would make me regret some of the things I did? Or will I regret even more some of the things I could have done but didn’t do? I start to wonder about what will really matter at the end. Of course, most of the time I come down to the same answer…
LOVE – the “real” purpose in life.
Not fame. Not money. Not being highly educated. Not being praised and appreciated. Not work. Not play. Not fulfilling our ego. Not collecting things. Not being the “best” at something. Not being perfect. Not wallowing in self-pity. Not being “right”. Not being super-religious. Not even being “happy”.
In the end, nothing but love really matters. Not the ooey-gooey, tingly feelings of budding romance, but real, true, nitty-gritty love – the kind that seeps past your bones into your very soul and gives you the will to go on when all else fails.
The hard part is that love like that is hard to find and even harder to give away on a consistent basis. To give that kind of love to others you have to overcome the all-consuming self-interest that most of us struggle with. You have to REALLY be willing to sacrifice and give yourself to others. This kind of selfless love can be hard to give to your family, let alone to strangers. Most of us prefer to focus on the theories and philosophy of love, rather than the actual practice. It is easier and safer to stay in our heads and look logically at love, but real love can’t be analyzed and figured out…it can only be given away. I know that I often need a reminder of that fact, so I figured maybe others could use one too.
Do you know an aspiring artist between the ages of 7 and 14 years old who would love to have their artwork featured in a published ebook? If so, this message is for you! I am putting together an upcoming ebook containing artistic advice, inspiration and creative tips for kids and I want YOUR young artist to be involved! All you have to do is submit a picture of your little artist’s favorite masterpiece, along with a quote from your child about art. The quote from your child can say anything as long as it is related to art or creativity. Here are a few suggestions for things your child might include in their quote:
- Advice for other young artists
- A personal story about art and how it has affected your life
- Information about your favorite art/artists
- Why you love art
- How you come up with creative ideas
Once you have your child’s artwork and quote, email them to me at Shojobeatgirl@live.com with ”Kid Art Entry” in the subject line . Please include your child’s name as you want it to appear in the ebook and your child’s age. I hope to use all of the artwork I receive, but if I receive an enormous amount of entries I may have to choose to feature only some of the young artists in the ebook. I will email back all of the young artists who are selected to be included in the book to let them know. I will also email all of the featured artists when the ebook is published so they can check it out and share it with their family and friends! Please submit all entries on or before June 20, 2013. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below!
Have you ever felt like the odds are always against you? Like you overcome one hurdle, just to have several more obstacles thrown in your path? That is how I’m feeling tonight. I know that we all have our mountains to climb and that life is full of ups and downs for everyone. But, what do you do when that mountain before you multiplies and becomes an entire range before your very eyes? Do you give up? Walk away? Or do you press on and start climbing anyway?
I guess you could say that right now I am at the base of a growing mountain range, trying to figure out if it is worth the effort to keep going or if I should just say “to heck with it all”, go home and become a hermit. I was pretty resilient back when there were just a few issues to overcome in my life (sensory issues, social problems, obsessive interests and the other stuff we high-functioning autistics deal with on a daily basis). I’ve always been stubborn and determined to show that I could do anything I set my mind to. Naysayers didn’t hold me back, they just made me determined to prove them wrong. However, it seems that the older I get, the more there is to overcome and frankly, it makes me tired and want to give up sometimes. My Asperger’s traits that I have had since birth are compounded by anxiety and depression (brought on partly from genetics and partly from a lifetime of feeling rejected and “weird” by people who either didn’t understand or didn’t care to understand my differences).
I also deal with a lot of confusion about my place in the world. I know I am intelligent and talented in some areas, but I am often at a loss as to how to turn those qualities into practical, useful occupations. If I really did what I wanted to, I would sit and read all day, write down my random thoughts and feelings, doodle, put puzzles together, color pictures, dance and play with kids. I’ve had people suggest teaching and even tried it in the past, however, I don’t really want to be the adult watching the kids or telling them what to do. Instead, I want to play with them as equals, which is really kind of downright strange at my age, but apparently a somewhat common trait among Aspies (many of us hate being in charge of anyone else, we just want to be independent to do our own thing).
Of course, to top it all off, there are medical issues. I don’t want to go into it all because I would probably bore you and sound like I’m whining, but between my autoimmune problems, chronic infections and chronic inflammatory conditions, sometimes life is pretty painful. Add that to my physical hypersensitivity and you have a recipe for disaster. It’s no wonder that sometimes it is a struggle to even get out of bed.
I know that people always say that God won’t give you more than you can handle and in theory that sounds great…but sometimes I feel like I am just being buried alive by the weight of this world and my own internal struggles. I know that I will keep forcing myself to go on and keep trying to climb that next mountain, even if I fall a million times, because that is the kind of stubborn person I am. But, honestly, the enthusiasm isn’t always there and life sometimes feels like drudgery. I just hope that someday I can look back and see that I actually got somewhere, because some days it feels like I’m losing ground instead of gaining it.
I am obsessed with the idea of creativity. Visual arts, dance, poetry, music, drama…I love it all. Creativity is magic to me. It is the divine spark of life, the one thing that makes us most like God. It can be scary because there are no absolutes in creation - no right or wrong – just expression and opinion. Although frightening, the lack of concrete rules brings freedom. I feel most like myself when I am creating, but it is hard to get to that spot because I have to wade through all my self-doubts and perfectionistic worries to get there.
Sometimes I wish I could just shut my brain down long enough to jump straight into that magical, mystical creative flow. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. I have to fight my way through the mental blocks that I have created. I have to tear the walls down if I want to reach that sweet spot on the other side. I don’t always succeed, but when I do, I finally find that peace with myself that I always seem to be searching for. It makes me think that maybe the bliss of finding and entering my creative center is actually a reward for having the guts and determination to press on through my own internal resistance. Or maybe I am just a head case. Either way, I will keep trying to find my way back to that paradise where anything is possible.
Recently, my husband and I went to a special class about street drug use among youth. The only reason we really went was to earn some of our foster parent educational credit hours, but I must say that the class turned out to be eye-opening and even frightening on many levels. I thought I already knew the basics about street drug use…but apparently there is ALOT I still had to learn.
Following are a few of the facts and statistics that were shared during the class that surprised or even shocked me. Read them over for yourself and decide if we as a country should be worried…
- Of all young people who die from overdosing on drugs, 98% started with marijuana. (Guess that kind of ruins our society’s whole “marijuana is harmless” belief).
- Studies show that the risk of a person having a heart attack in the first hour after smoking marijuana is 4 times more likely than their normal risk.
- On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the hardest to get and 10 being the easiest to get, getting crack cocaine in this area of Ohio is an 8 for a minor. (Although obviously this statistic would vary depending on where you live and other factors, it scares me that it is so easy for our youth to get hold of cocaine).
- Ketamine, known on the streets as “Special K” is actually a tranquilizer for large animals. For this reason, many veterinary clinics and other animal handlers often become victims of theft and other crimes due to addicts pursuing their drug.
- OxyContin, Morphine, Vicodin and Codeine are in the same family of drugs as Heroin. (No wonder these pain killers are so addictive)!
- Heroin users often start out by abusing prescription drugs.
- Approximately 1 in 6 meth labs EXPLODE! This is truly terrifying! And these are not small explosions!
- People who abuse methamphetamines have less than a 5% chance of ever fully recovering.
- The average age for someone who inhales chemicals to get high is 9-13. (If that is the average age, many kids must do it at even younger ages. We obviously need early intervention here.)
So did those facts worry you at least a little bit? They should. If you don’t already talk to your kids about the dangers of drug use of all kinds, please start talking. And always keep an eye out. Don’t be the parent that is in denial and doesn’t see a problem right before their eyes until it is too late.
I am very proud to announce the release of a book that has been in the works for quite awhile now. This project wasn’t just another story I wanted to share, this was a very personal, intense book for me to write in many ways. As a foster parent who has undergone much heartache and frustration navigating the foster care system, I wanted to share a bit of that experience with others. However, I also wanted to give a voice to all the many kids who seem to fly under the radar and get “lost in the system”.
To achieve both ends, I divided the book into two sections. The first half of the book is written from the point of view of kids in the system. I did use a few of my own experiences with my own foster kids in this section, but also interviewed many current and former foster youth which really helped to open my eyes to the way foster kids really feel. Of course, since some of the questions I asked were rather deep, I interviewed kids that were at least nine years old, which I’m sure influenced some of the content. My husband and I have always fostered preteens or teens as well, so you may want to keep that in mind when reading this book. My heart really does ache for the older kids in the system because they are the ones that usually fall through the cracks and sit in the system for years or until adulthood. Even if they do get put up for adoption, it can be very hard to find adoptive families for older kids.
The second section of the book is told from the point of view of foster parents. In this section I did use more of my own experiences, but also included stories and feelings from other foster parents I talked to. I openly tackled subjects such as mental diagnoses, attachment problems, prejudice, abusive foster parents, loss and the reason behind why I personally chose to be a foster parent. In many ways I laid my own soul bare for this project, but I felt that the subject matter deserved no less. The book itself is written in an autobiographical prose/free verse poetry form that is very easy to read and understand, but gets quickly to the heart of the matter and the deep emotions that the foster care system often evokes.
My hope for this book is that it will inspire, encourage and comfort foster kids and foster parents in some way. I hope that they will read this book and feel like saying “Yes! Someone finally gets it!”. I also hope that those not directly involved in the foster care system will read the book so that their eyes can be opened to the real challenges and injustices present. Only by bringing attention to the problems of the foster care system can we hope to make some positive changes. As I said in the dedication of the book, “Here’s to hoping that someday EVERY foster child can find a happy ending, no matter their age or circumstances.”
To read this ebook for yourself or find out more about it, please visit the book’s Amazon page. Right now ”From Both Sides” can be purchased for the Kindle for only $2.99.